1 book you read: “The Adoration of Jenna Fox” by Mary E. Pearson
2 words that describe the book: Sci-fi Lite
3 settings where it took place or characters you met:
- Setting: California, sometime in the future
- Jenna Fox is a 17-year-old girl who wakes up after a year-long coma. She had been in a terrible accident but seems to have no recollection of her life before. Little by little, Jenna begins to remember more about her past, but each memory brings more questions–questions that her devoted parents seem not to want to answer. When she finally uncovers the truth of what happened to her, it rocks her to her core.
- Lily is Jenna’s grandmother, who initially seems standoffish and cold to Jenna, for reasons that Jenna can’t comprehend. As Jenna seeks for answers about what happened to her, she begins to understand Lily’s complicated feelings towards her–just as Lily begins to understand some of what Jenna is experiencing and makes an effort to help her find the answers she’s been searching for.
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it:
- I liked how Pearson has written a Young Adult (YA) book that is filled with some Big Questions: How much does memory play a role in making us the person we are today? What does it mean to be human? Can we love someone too much … to the point where we damage them instead of nurture them? The book also raises issues regarding medical ethics. In a very short amount of time, Pearson manages to raise a host of issues that will leave readers thinking. HOWEVER…
- I disliked that the book felt underdeveloped and simplified. I wish things had been more fleshed out. I truly felt that the book was too slight for its ideas, and I would have liked more details, set-up and development. At only 288 pages (many of which are short journal entries written in fragments), the book is a fast read … too fast. I really felt Pearson could have done much much more. As usual, I struggled with the whole YA label. This felt like a book that was “dumbed down” to me. Pearson has lots of good ideas, but the story and characters felt shallow.
- I disliked that Pearson introduces characters, hints at Dark Things about them, and then doesn’t really go back and explain things well. There was one character (whose name escapes me) who is either a psychopath or a really damaged kid. Pearson keeps bringing him in, having him scare or threaten others, and just drops him. Same with Jenna’s neighbor, who seems friendly at first but then is revealed to have a bit of a dark history as well. Both of these characters should have either been developed further or eliminated as I didn’t think they were integral to the story.
- I disliked that I couldn’t buy into the science that plays a key role in the book. I’m not a real picky reader (though from this review it might seem like I am), but I just couldn’t believe in the technology in this book. The single biggest hurdle for me were the three computers that play a role later in the book. I just didn’t buy into that aspect AT ALL. It didn’t make any sense to me, and I’m not sure I understood 100% what Pearson meant were on those computers.
5 Stars or less for your rating?
I’m giving the book 3 stars. I know a lot of people really really loved this book, and I might just be a crank or a person who doesn’t really appreciate YA books, but I just felt like this was a wonderful idea for a book that didn’t live up to its promise or its premise. As I said before, the book felt very underdeveloped to me. With such interesting and thought-provoking ideas, I think Pearson squandered her chance to write a really amazing book that would speak to all levels of readers. I seem to be in the minority on this one though, so be sure to check out what others think about this book. If nothing else, it would make a good book club read.
The Whys and Wheres: I got this book from the library after reading this review by Sandy at You’ve Gotta Read This. (And by the way, Sandy has already “forgiven” me for not liking the book as much as she did.)
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And I’ve decided to put Mr. Linky back up for anyone else who wants to link up their Show Me 5 Saturday posts. I’d love to visit your posts if you write them.